During his post-game speech, Matt Daniels reminded his team that one of their goals was to go 10-0 during the regular season.
Ravenwood fell one win short of that due to a loss to archrival Brentwood in the fifth game.
“We could still win 10 straight,” said Daniels, the Raptors coach, after Friday’s 40-14 win over Independence at Nolensville HS.
“Obviously, that’s the ultimate goal, you know, for us to win the state championship, that’s what we’ve got to do. So hopefully that’s something that could kind of stick in their mind.”
Ravenwood (9-1, 4-1 Region 6-6A) won its fifth straight with a dominating performance over Independence (6-4, 3-2).
That gave the Raptors second place in the region behind Brentwood and a home game in the first round of the playoffs next week.
Five more wins would give Ravenwood a Class 6A title.
Ravenwood’s Andrew Mason broke a school record with his 15th receiving touchdown of the season.
Van Jefferson, now a redshirt senior at Florida, held the old record with 14.
“I’ve grown up watching Ravenwood football, so I watched him,” Mason said. “I modeled a little bit of my game after him. That’s one of my role models, so it’s real cool. I’ll probably text him tonight and tell him what happened.”
Mason caught a 16-yard TD pass from Brian Garcia, giving the Raptors a 9-0 lead with 5:09 left in the first quarter.
That was Ravenwood’s first TD of the night and he also caught the last, a 17-yard reception from Garcia that increased the Raptors’ lead to 40-7 early in the fourth quarter.
The senior captain also deflated the Eagles with a 75-yard kickoff return for a TD with 1:03 left in the first half, moments after Independence’s first TD of the night.
Mason, a Rice commit, ran a 4.32 in the 40-yard yard dash at a Duke camp.
“I say this all the time: you can’t coach speed,” Daniels said. “He works at it and he works at it, but he’s got this natural gift for speed that translates to the football field.
"There are a lot of guys who can go out there and run a 40 fast and run a 100-meter fast, but the way he runs on the football field is just – I haven’t seen anything like it in my seven or eight years of coaching. He’s got great hands, he’s tough.”
Tight end Jake Briningstool caught two TD passes from Garcia: a 7-yard grab that built the Raptors’ lead to 19-0 with 5:19 left in the second quarter and an 11-yard reception that gave Ravenwood a 33-7 advantage with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter.
The 6-foot-7, 215-pound junior has offers from Clemson and Alabama among others.
“Tonight we were kind of able to get him open across the middle and Brian, for a smaller guy, he’s able to put it up there to his 6-7 frame,” Daniels said.
Ravenwood’s Luke Akers, a UCLA commit, kicked field goals of 24 and 26 yards in the first half.
The game was moved to Nolensville’s artificial turf field because Ravenwood’s field has drainage issues with the wet weather.
Jack Phillips’ 3-yard TD run cut the deficit to 19-7 with 1:18 left in the first half, but Ravenwood pulled away with 21 straight points.
“They overpowered us up front,” Eagles coach Scott Blade said. “Their defensive line owned the line of scrimmage, for sure.”
Ravenwood started three of its first-half drives inside the 50.
“We didn’t get enough pressure on (Garcia),” Blade said. “We lost contain on the quarterback and put pressure on our defensive backs, who had to cover them for a longer period of time. Both sides of the ball, they dominated the line of scrimmage.”
The Eagles finished third in the region, putting them on the road in next week’s playoffs.
“Their defensive line was really good,’ Independence quarterback Ethan Cash said. “They got a lot of pressure, but we still had open stuff. We came out flat from the very beginning and we just could never get the momentum, and they stole it all. Garcia has a lot of weapons, a lot of fast guys.”
Ravenwood will now move to host Stewarts Creek next week to start the playoffs, while Indy will head to Smyrna.